ABOUT

This website is not authoritative or ready for Prime Time. It came about as a place to store notes, images, and observations about the most interesting section of New York’s Central Park, McGowan’s Pass; and to develop some narrative thread about it all.

This region, always a place of spectacular vistas, is the only part of the Park to have participated directly in the Revolutionary War (from late 1776 through late 1783) and the War of 1812 (in 1814, actually), and—perhaps most astoundingly—the American Civil War! The first two wars had forts, the third one had a hospital…right on the same spot that the Central Park Conservancy now uses as a rubbish heap.

The author, a former journalist, got interested in the history of the region a little while ago (2009-2010), and quickly discovered that most of the printed and online references about the Pass are fraught with misinformation, much of it copied ad libitum from some other mistaken source. Thus one continually reads that “McGown’s Pass” took its name from “Scotswoman Catherine McGown” who ran a tavern where the Central Park Conservancy’s “composting area” now stands. That sort of statement has at least three bald errors in it, possibly four or five.

The PASS NOTES page offers a friendly (we hope!) though fairly detailed summary of these issues. The various Posts we add from time to time have a wealth of maps and illustrations, most of them contemporary to the time under discussion.

Please feel free to use the CONTACT information to send notes and comments along. The Comments functionality has been turned off here to defeat spammers.

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